February 13, 2010 archive

Friday: Obama Admin. Launches Afghan Offensive During Poppy Harvest

It was 5:30 pm in Washington, DC, on Friday, Feb 12.  The city had been shut down all week because of back to back record breaking snowfalls.  On Friday morning, the TV pundits standing in front of a charming, snow shrouded scene at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, announced that the White House was open, and “back to business as usual.”  

By the evening, during Hardball’s televised cable show with Chris Mathews, it was back to casually inserting the news via an interview with Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklazewski that the United States and “Afghan forces”  had just launched the largest Afghanistan offensive of the war, in southern Afghanistan, near the city of Marjah.

25,000 to 30,000 troops (US, Nato, and “Afghan forces” per Miklazewski, without elaborating that number means it’s all the US and some intrepreters…..) were to chase out the Taliban from Afghanistan’s largest opium poppy area.   And now, Miklazewski said, there was something different, the US had “walking around money” for the “recovery effort” after the offensive, when they had “settled in.”  “They have money that has been appropriated by Congress to hand out in the south, to pretty much help them.”  Oh, and to buy their allegiance.  

Yes, he said that. “oh, and Chris, as you know, to buy their allegiance.”

This area of Afghanistan produces 60% of the world’s opium.  4 billion dollars a year’s worth. 400 million for the Taliban.  And it’s poppy harvest season in Afghanistan.

Wait a minute. It’s effing FEBRUARY. You know, like, uhm, “winter.”  They’re harvesting this crap in February ?

http://www.paktribune.com/news…   New Headline: Global Climate Change Pops Poppy Harvest Up Entire Season From May To MidWinter !

“This is going to deny them some badly needed revenue, Chris.”  

Okay dokey.  Let me guess. This is going to provide some badly needed Revenue Enhancement for the CIA and Black Opts, isn’t it ?

Same old, same old. No wonder General McChystal recently said the Afghan situation was now “under control.”  

Original v. Cover — #12 of a Series

BABES IN ARMS Pictures, Images and Photos

The featured song this week is drawn from an earlier time than any of the previous selections in this series to date and includes a not all that subtle nod to Valentine’s Day, which will soon descend upon us.  This beautiful, yet haunting number is a show tune from the 1937 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical Babes in Arms, which opened at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway in New York, New York on April 14, 1937 and ran for 289 performances.  It is now considered to be a jazz standard, appearing on over 1300 albums performed by over 600 artists.

The Valentine’s Day weekend selection first appeared on the charts in 1945 and was performed by Hal McIntyre with vocals by Ruth Gaylor, remaining there for only one week, occupying a #16 ranking.  It is also considered part of the Great American Songbook.  To this writer’s knowledge, the song has not since appeared on the Billboard Top 100, however, it has been covered so frequently and consistently over the years that should be immediately familiar to most.  Unfortunately, a video of the original version from 1945 does not appear to be available on the web.

Since many of you are no doubt busy with last minute preparations for the big day on Sunday, the narration in this week’s diary has been kept to a minimum, allowing those stopping by to spend less time reading, and more time listening to the many great renditions of this great song.  

Without further ado, this week’s featured song is “My Funny Valentine.”

Friday Philosophy: Downward mobility

Earlier today, teacherken posted an essay entitled, American, land of opportunity – Not!.  It was mostly about the the limits of upward mobility caused by race and class.  In fact, the paper he cited discussed downward mobility caused by those factors.

Downward mobility is not strange to people in the trans community.  In the news yesterday was this report from the 2010 Creating Change conference, courtesy of Renee Baker for dallasvoice.com.

Numbers.  They were preliminary numbers, but numbers nonetheless.  And I’m a numbers person in the eyes of most part, so I thought I would share and comment on them.

They are not exactly new.  The numbers come from a preliminary report dated in November.  NGLTF released an even rougher sketch of the data earlier in last year.

But the question comes up from time to time.  Do transfolk really need to be covered by an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act?  

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